New online programs in agriculture provide opportunities for skill specialization, career advancement

The University of Nebraska has expanded its online program offerings in agriculture and life sciences, providing individuals with additional opportunities to enhance their skillsets and advance their careers in a range of specialized fields.

Three new graduate certificates – in advanced horticulture, floriculture and nursery production management, and ornamental, landscape and turf – along with a Master of Science in agronomy are now available through the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide website. All can be completed fully online, making them ideal for working professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to expand their knowledge and career potential in one of Nebraska’s most important industries.

“The University of Nebraska has always been fundamentally committed to agriculture research and education. We are very pleased that Nebraskans and others now have access to these exceptional programs in agriculture online as well as in the classroom,” said Mary Niemiec, University of Nebraska Online Worldwide director. “The flexibility online education provides to working adults creates excellent opportunities for individuals to obtain new skills and increase their potential for career success.”

The certificate in advanced horticulture includes courses in tree, floral, nursery and grape production as well as interior plants and business. The certificate is designed for horticulture agents, K-12 science teachers, golf course superintendents, city parks and recreation employees, landscape maintenance practitioners, nursery, greenhouse and garden center industry professionals, and horticulture enthusiasts.

The certificate in floriculture and nursery production management can help students gain a greater understanding of how ornamental and floral plants grow. The certificate is designed for nursery, greenhouse and garden center industry professionals, horticulture agents, and K-12 science teachers, particularly those who may wish to pursue a master’s degree.

The certificate in ornamental, landscape and turf focuses on the turf and landscape aspects of horticulture. Students who complete the certificate gain a greater understanding of how to manage turf and ornamental areas, including responding to disease, weed and insect situations. The certificate is designed for horticulturists, golf course superintendents, city parks and recreation employees, landscape maintenance practitioners, and individuals working in nursery or landscape-oriented garden centers.

“These graduate certificates provide a cost-effective opportunity for place-bound Nebraskans to study horticulture with faculty experts from UNL and UNK as well as North Carolina State, Texas Tech and Kansas State universities,” said Ellen Paparozzi, professor of horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Individuals interested in a 36-hour graduate program are encouraged to start with a certificate, which serves as a great mile marker on the road to a distance-delivered master’s degree.”

David Lambe, associate professor of practice in the UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, said: “Pursuing an online certificate can do two things: first, interest a student to come back to finish a master’s degree in a particular field; and second, increase the student’s potential in the workplace by gaining necessary information to be competitive in his or her job. With these certificates in agriculture and life sciences, the University of Nebraska is providing a way for individuals to gain confidence in their personal development and enrichment. I would encourage anyone interested in science to consider these options.”

The curriculum for the master’s degree program in agronomy is focused on applying course content to industry work. Areas of study include plant breeding and genetics, crop physiology and production, weed science, horticulture, turf management, and range and forage science. Graduates may work in the seed industry, in crop improvement, horticulture, education, or government, or as producers or extension specialists.

University of Nebraska Online Worldwide is NU’s university-wide distance education initiative, providing access to more than 100 online degree, certificate and endorsement programs offered by the four campuses across 16 fields of study. NU recently was recognized in U.S. News & World Report magazine’s new rankings of the nation’s best online programs: the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s bachelor’s degree was ranked 11th, the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s graduate education program was ranked 8th, and UNL’s online MBA was ranked 17th.

The university will continue to grow its online programs as it works to expand access to more Nebraskans and others seeking a flexible, quality education. Online education is an especially good fit for the 290,000 Nebraskans who have completed some college but have not earned a degree.

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Melissa Lee
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